It was just a year ago I shadowed a friend and colleague of mine on a mission trip to Haiti. Katie is an extraordinary human being, with a heart to give back on all levels. She is a TED talk presenter, owner of a dance school, executive director of a global non-profit, and in her spare time is building a school in Uganda. I had my own vision of building a performing arts school in a third world country and my goal for that trip was to learn from her in expanding our non-profit organization, Taking Shape.
I didn't quite know what to expect in this country that was still reeling from a devastating earthquake of 2010. We visited Lephare, a small orphanage where we planned to bring some joy by conducting games and singing and dancing. The dismal facility had a rusty, steel gate that served to protect the precious lives within. When we entered, our hearts were immediately warmed as a flood of smiling, excited children greeted us. We were witness to resilience, love, energy, and respect. I had found the location to bring my vision to fruition.
One of the missions of Taking Shape is to identify and develop young leaders. Our goal is to help them live a life of purpose and servant leadership for their communities, surrounding areas, and the world. Immediately, I could identify young leaders in this orphanage and knew this would be the perfect place to build a performing arts school and young leadership facility. Now, one year later, we are seeing this vision become a reality with our August groundbreaking. I want to express my profound gratitude for each and every one of you who have helped us reach this milestone.
Work includes an expansion of rooms including bedrooms and bathrooms for the 23 residents. We will continue on to build a community school in conjunction with the project so other children in the area can benefit. Things are happening quickly. We will begin performing arts mission camps in the summer of 2018.
I often get asked why we are helping children in another country when there is so much to be done in our own communities. Our goal is to grow young leaders Here, Near and Far. This project will not only help children in Haiti but will provide exceptional leadership opportunities for our own STAR leaders from our local program. They will get the opportunity to serve on a global level by registering to teach at these camps in Haiti next summer.
I was moved by how eager these Haitian children were to learn. They don't take anything for granted. They have deep faith, hope, and an appreciation for education. They take care of each other. I have witnessed how they are already leaders in their own community. With your ongoing help, we will continue to answer the call in partnering with Pastor Jean of Lephare Orphanage as we help them expand their school and facility. Taking Shape will also continue to work on our three platforms; Here, Near and Far, as we continue to make differences in the lives of children through youth leadership.
Help us continue our mission to raise young leaders Here, Near and Far
by donating here today!